Struggling with Depression

I am taking a break from writing about fun stuff like failed relationships, RVing, reality TV and my hatred of the Pittsburgh Penguins. I’m going to discuss my life a bit and a one-time battle I had with what I figure is depression. I’m going to tell you what I believed triggered it, what happened while I was fully into it and what got me out of it.

I had a telephone discussion with an ex. Mistake because she blames me leaving her for the misery she finds herself in these days. In fact, she finds great pleasure in letting me know all the crap she’s been through is not a result of her refusal to work full time like us savages, but due to the lack of support I gave her. Ok. Normally that wouldn’t  bother me, but this session was different. She blamed me for her not having any children. She told me she wanted to have three children and now she’s too old to have any (she is).

That made me feel bad. Then I thought sticking around her essentially ended my family line. She didn’t say so, but getting pregnant would have been difficult for her. And the fact of the matter is if she truly wanted to have a kid, we would have. Bottom line, you generally start kids with intercourse, and we weren’t having it. At least not with each other.

Anyway, I thought more about it until I could barely do anything. I would go to work, come home and get right into bed. I would lay there and let these “waves of blue” crash into me. Only after talking to a friend did I realize what was happening. She suggested I go see a therapist, which I did not. I was barely functioning but hardly anyone knew.

What got me through it? My cats. I did not always like cats. In fact, I never wanted to be around them. My cats took care of me. One of our cats would curl up next to me while I was in the fetal position. He would sleep next to me and purr. Our other cat, the anti social one, soon became much more friendly. Before long, both of them would come upstairs, get next to me and purr while my life was going into the tank.

Thats why I’m going to cry like a baby when my cats go. I really really owe them.

What snapped me out? Nothing in particular except a desire to get out of the pity party. I did. It was time to stop feeling sorry for myself and start doing something.

Not everyone can do that. Hardly anyone can do that. It’s very hard. Depression is a mo—- f—-r. It can hurt you badly.

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Good Sam Club Roadside Service & Advertising

For those of us whose greatest fear is of your RV breaking down and leaving us stranded by the side of the road, there are several companies willing to help. They provide roadside assistance when incidents like those happen. They offer plans you can buy in advance for the situation.

One of those companies providing assistance is the Good Sam Club. Good Sam Club offers roadside assistance plans. There are varying levels of services offered, from standard to platinum. If you have a motor coach, you must have platinum service with Good Sam roadside assistance. Good Sam includes assistance for your towing vehicles as well as the travel trailer, Popup or 5th wheel. It’s actually a reasonable price ($119 to $149 a year) considering they offer a myriad of services for a breakdown. They will have you towed to someplace that can actually fix your RV. They will fix your flats or give you a jump if you need it.

The one thing I don’t particularly appreciate with respect to Good Sam is their frequency of contact. One RV show called them the “Good Spam” Club. The sheer amount of mail and email from that firm is astounding. I get no less than five pieces of mail or email per week from them or Camping World. If you buy a Good Sam product, apparently you’ve consented to get their SPAM. Frequent renewal requests begin 4 to 6 months from the actual expiration date. In fact, at Camping World if you use the Good Sam membership card for discounts, the cashier seems automatically obliged to ask if you want to renew something. Even if you’ve just renewed for multiple years!

I actually like Good Sam. Like I said, their roadside service doesn’t seem like a bad plan. I just don’t dig the tactic of near-continuous contact for months on end.

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Sig Sauer P320

I don’t talk about firearms much because it’s not a good topic. I’m interested in firearms. All of you who have more than casual interest in handguns know the Sig Sauer P320 is slated to become the U.S. Army’s (and U.S. Air Force) new standard sidearm, the M17/M18. While I have no interest in discussing the testing and evaluation phase of that decision, I will tell you I have a P320. I can also tell you I like Glock firearms though I’m no fanboy like seemingly all Glock owners. I’ve had a Glock 43, which is one of the best carry firearms available. It definitely does its job. It is highly reliable, like all Glocks. I’m also considering a Glock 19 because it kicks @$$. I guess I just sounded like a Glock fanboy there.

My P320 is now in a box, because I’m sending it back to Sig Sauer to get some imaginary work done on it. It’s supposed to have a problem with being dropped. I doubt it’s an issue because guns aren’t really designed to be dropped. Still I wanted to write about this firearm because the trigger is, in a word sh*t. A colleague who happens to be a gunsmith says the trigger is mush. Easily the worst I’ve ever had on a Sig. Ive heard people who think this is the best part of the pistol. No. I’ve owned the P239, 1911, P980 and they’ve been at least ok out of the box. It transforms the firearm from pretty good to meh. When I get it back, I’m going to have my colleague work on the trigger because it flat out sucks. I know Glock fanboy: you’ve not had that problem on your Glock? Well there a problem with Glocks, right out of the box: are you familiar with the term “SIGHTS?” You can sit back down at least for now, knowing those sights don’t mean much.

Did I mention my Sig Sauer 1911? I LOVE that firearm. At .45, it’s gonna hurt whatever it hits. Accurate with a shooter such as myself, and I’m not a great shooter. Highly recommend this weapon if you can afford it and you require a full size sidearm.

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Your Black and Gray Tanks

Ok, I’ve been fascinated with the black and gray tanks for a while now. Recently my wife sniffed a strong odor after we had the RV in storage for a while. I emptied the black and gray tanks, used the wand on the black tank and thought I was good. Lo and behold, this past weekend I got a whiff of it and it was unpleasant!

Today, I’m using something called a probiotic. This is a living organism that allegedly consumes waste inside your black tank. I’m giving it a shot and I’ll let you know how it works. It’s supposed to be in the tank for 12 to 24 hours. Instead, I’m going to let it go for 72 to 96 hours. Why?

Because it’s ridiculously hot here in South Texas, that’s why. It’s over 100 degrees. I just don’t want to go outside. I have tasks to do, but it’s simply too freaking hot.

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A Little commentary on Generators for RVing

One of the most important items for traveling RVers, especially for us in the Southern U.S., is a portable RV generator. If you camp during the summer, you want to use your air conditioner. At other times, you’ll want a smaller generator that runs most of the other features with your RV ( TV, microwave, etc). These generators won’t run the a/c, but will provide you with electrical power in a pinch.

When we bought our RV, we didn’t know about the need for a generator. Fortunately, we already had a Champion generator, designed in part for RV use. The generator’s purpose for us was to power a portable air conditioner. If you live in Texas, you may have a generator for other uses, such as power when your home electricity fails. Sometimes, you can use these for RVing. Many of them are too heavy for portable use. We also have a 7000 watt generator, but it is over 200 lbs so it isn’t practical for the RV experience.

Our Champion is a 3000 watt unit. We’ve run it for as long as 50 hours nonstop while using it to run the air conditioner. The unit is 8 years old; we have had issues …. self-induced issues with the generator due to today’s regular unleaded gasoline. Here’s the key to keeping these devices alive: Do NOT use regular unleaded fuel containing ethanol in ANY generator! Ethanol free gasoline is a must for any small internal combustion engine. Ethanol causes issues with parts sending fuel to the generator’s carburetor. You will also want to fill your generator’s tank with ethanol free fuel when you are not using it. It keeps water from condensing in the tank, which can cause contamination problems as well.

Two types of generators I’ll discuss: regular generators and inverters. We have both. Regular generators are the kind you’ll see on construction sites. They are heavy and LOUD, but typically provide power to drive your air conditioners. They are the least costly of the generators, but are pretty annoying when boondocking. Inverters supply cleaner power for your electronic devices, but don’t provide the power of regular generators. These are much more quiet than the regular generator. Typically they cannot run your air conditioners unless they are tied together in tandem. You can spend a lot of money on inverters. When it’s cool here in South Texas (Nov – Feb), we can get away with powering the travel trailer with this device. Later in the year, we have turned to using the regular generator during the day, and the inverter in the evening. We have medical equipment requiring A/C power so we have to run a generator all night.

Powerhorse inverter generator

We have a Powerhorse inverter generator, specifically purchased for our long trips. While it won’t drive our air conditioner, it does provide power in the event of a road emergency. One of my colleagues had RVed our to Colorado, and on his way back to San Antonio he had some truck trouble. Because he didn’t take a portable generator (I suggested he borrow mine), his wife and son sat in their truck for 3 hours, hoping my colleague could figure out the problem with their truck. For us, we’ll use the portable inverter to run the air compressor, the TV or even the ice maker. It’s better than nothing, and possibly quite useful in a pinch.

Our house generator is the Powerhorse 7000. This monster can power our RV and other equipment without skipping a beat. The problem, as I’ve already mentioned, is it’s weight. The Powerhorse 7000 is over 200 lbs. While no one is going to steal it from the bed of the truck, it’s going to stay there for a while once it gets there. Because it’s so heavy, I only take it out once every six months to test fire it. If you use this beast, you’ll have to get an adapter plug as we discovered when we purchased it. These are EASILY available at Lowe’s or Home Depot. I emphasize EASILY because we weren’t able to find them in the power tools section in our local Home Depot. We asked and the employees had no idea where they were. The next time I went in the store, I spotted the adapters at the exact location we asked about them. They were between the shelves.

Hopefully you’ve read to the end of this post. Here are your considerations and what you’ll need:

-A portable generator within your price range. In the BSP view, this should be:

– An inverter generator that supplies enough power (>= 3000 running watts) to run your air conditioner, yet is light enough to be portable. You are looking to spend from $800 to $1200 on this device. There are at least six brands of generator in this range

– An adapter for your RV power cord plug to fit the portable generator, a 3 or 4 prong locking device. You will have to know which generator you are using before selecting the adapter.

– A chain and lock to lock your RV generator to your truck or something permanent, to keep the device from going bye-bye. I use the Master Lock cable 8418D for this purpose, since you can sinch it tight.

I lock our generator to a fixture even when we leave our own property. Our property is several acres from our neighbors and the generator can barely be heard when onsite, but we’ve also known our neighbors to be curious and go on our property uninvited.

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The Washington Capitals WON The Stanley Cup

After a 44-year drought, the Washington Capitals have won the Stanley Cup for the 2017-18 NHL season.

A few things you need to know about the Capitals winning the Stanley Cup:

There are two Capitals fan bases: the California Golden Seals beating, Yvon Labre watching fans, who’ve been with the team since 1974. These fans saw their team unable to make the playoffs for a decade when there were only 21 teams in the league. 16 teams made the playoffs. Those fans kind of had their fill with the fire sale starting with the trade of Jaromir Jagr to the New York Rangers. I’m in that group.

Then there’s the post-2004 lockout fans. These are the fans who caught onto the Alexander Ovechkin phase. They saw the drafting of Nicky Backstrom, Mike Green, Jeff Schultz, and a host of players who brought the team into contention. That was always the goal, to get the team back into contention for the Stanley Cup. They succeeded in that effort, but didn’t win until this year.

What’s the difference between now and the multiple teams … including the 2016-17 season that was actually more talented then this year’s team that won? It’s clear: Washington FINALLY got some secondary scoring. Alex Ovechkin has 61 goals in 121 playoff games. He was never the problem, as much as some sports media blowhards would have you think. The problem was Washington’s 3rd and 4th lines, who never scored much in the playoffs at all. The rare exceptions to this were Bobby Gould’s scoring in the Capitals first playoffs, enabling to win a game against the three-time defending Cup Champion Islanders. 1989, John Druce, a little known 3rd liner, set the team playoff record that stood for 28 years with 14 goals. The Capitals made the conference finals for the first time. Then the Capitals picked up some veterans for a playoff run in 1998. Brian Bellows and Esa Tikkanen added additional scoring and the Capitals made their first Stanley Cup appearance. 2017-18, Devonte Smith-Pelly, Tom Wilson, Lars Eller and a host of other players put up numbers for the Capitals in the postseason. If you’ve watched the Capitals for life like I have, you know that’s true.

There’s certain things in hockey that are true. We watched Tampa become the previous years Washington Capitals in games six and seven of their playoff series. Started gripping their sticks too tight. Tampa was the best team in the league this season. They ended up with nothing. In fact, I really started to believe the Capitals were going all the way in Game Six of the Tampa series. They came out hitting in that game, stapled the Lightning to the boards and basically beat them down. In Game 7, the Lightning fans were nervous, then the Caps got a quick one from Ovy. Nervousness turned into panic, individual play and finally despair. I felt for the Lightning because that’s something that can stick with a team for a while.

You’ve got to make adjustments, and counter adjustments.

There are a lot of guys who won’t have to buy drinks in Washington ever again. Smith-Pelly. Tom Wilson. Lars Eller. Brooks freaking Orpik. Christian Djoos. Chandler Stephenson. Brett Conally. T.J. Oshie. There are others.

Did I mention Alex Ovechkin? Did you see how happy that guy was? I’m sure he had thoughts that he might never win one. I can’t stand criticism of Ovechkin, mainly because wingers shouldn’t be your team leaders anyway. Alex did whatever he was asked to do over his entire career. Score without defensive consciousness, sure. Play right wing, no problem. Block shots, he did it. This past summer, Coach Trotz asked him to become a great two-way player, and improve at 5 on 5. He did it, and did it well. They won this Cup additionally because they made Nick Backstrom a 2nd line center. They were exceptional down the middle.

And, the Capitals may not be one and done. Their core still has several quality years left. If they can get secondary scoring again and bring John Carlson back, they’ll have a shot for at least one more.

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Warriors – Cavs AGAIN

This time I’m glad to see it. LB James proved himself as the GREATEST NBA PLAYER EVER in their 7 game series against a better team in the Boston Celtics. Boston, despite the absence of two of their All-Stars, fought hard at home but faded in the 7 game set.

Then there are the Warriors. I’m not a huge Warriors fan. They are arrogant and vain, but I have to tell you this: the Rockets lost that series when Chris Paul did the little shimmy. They definitely blew it when that idiot fan chased Steph Curry’s wife out of the arena. We love it when fans get into the game to the point where they are chasing a pregnant woman, tossing out insults.

https://www.cnn.com/videos/sports/2018/05/27/ayesha-curry-heckler-video.hln

Actually we don’t love it, and the Rockets deserve that loss they just had hung on them. 27 misses from 3 — in a row. Karmic retribution.

Hey, douchebag fan! You have five empty months (minus Texans football, which ends up going nowhere as well) to think about the consequences of your actions. Even though you’re a Houstonian and you don’t think anyway. You wanted to be a celebrity, live with it.

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What’s in your Black Tank?

One of my co-workers thinks they know everything to know. He has an RV and he believes he is quite wise with respect to purchasing them. He constantly harps to new RV owners “you don’t get a new RV as your first RV. Always go used for your first RV.”

As you know, I didn’t listen to Mr. Know-it-all. I purchased a new RV, and I’m glad I did.

A big part of it is, I have a pretty good idea what’s in my black tank. Used RV owners might have an idea what’s in their black tank, but there’s no certainty. Even if you buy that used RV from a family that owned it for six hours, you don’t know if they went to a Restaurant, got soap in their food, then the Brady Bunch pyramided in the one RV toilet for 4 hours on their way back to the dealer. As far as RVing goes, the black tank might be the most important item on your vehicle. It definitely affects your quality of life.

Today, I had a meeting with my RV, the black tank and gray tank, as well as a piece of equipment that failed when I needed to finish the job. Here’s what happened:

My frustration grew over the RV’s sensor reporting wild numbers on the black & gray tanks. Sometimes, it would report I had full tanks, other times they would be empty. Most of the time they were wrong.

To try and resolve the issues, I used a variation of what’s called the GEO method. This is simply using laundry detergent, water softener and bleach to clean, disinfect and remove waste from the black tank. Today, I dumped 5 gallons of hot water, Calgon water softener, and 20 Mule Team borax into the toilet, then took the swizzle stick and rinsed the black tank from the inside.

Swizzle stick

Today’s hero: the Swizzle stick

The meters said my black tank was 2/3 full, after reporting the tank was completely full 5 minutes before. I decided instead of letting the vehicle sit, I would dump what waste was clogging up the system.

After dumping the waste, I found nothing blocking the tank. Lo and behold, the black tank finally registered empty! I was pleased. So now, I need to find out what’s happening with the gray tank, which still registered 1/3 full even though it was completely empty.

Meanwhile, I tried using a Camco device, a tool to send water into the tank from an attached hose. I’ve seen various videos with this tool but here’s my experience: it doesn’t work. Today was the 4th time I’ve used it and this was the final try.

The broken piece is above my thumb. No rubber washer should be visible in this picture.

It broke off and sprayed water everywhere. Fortunately, I didn’t need to attempt the back flush on the black tank, so I put the thing aside for disposal. It was about $35, a waste of money.

Knowing what’s in your black tank is quite important. If you’re going to buy used, ask what’s in your black tank? Ask to check the meters on your gray and black tanks. Your dealer will probably say they were cleaned when they got it, but he doesn’t know. I’d suggest buying from a private person might get some real honesty — or dishonesty. It’s unlikely they know what’s in their black and gray tanks.

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